How Facebook is turning employees into mobile champions

Boot camp: How Facebook is turning employees into mobile champions
Facebook is shifting to a 'mobile first' company

Remember in the 'Rocky' movies when the fabled Italian Stallion heads off to train outside of his Philadelphia comfort zone to find the inspiration necessary to overcome a terrifying, iron-fisted foe?

Well that's sort of what Facebook is doing with its engineers to help them obtain the mobile "Eye of the Tiger" - except it isn't shipping coders to the mean streets of Chicago or an icy Russian log cabin to do so.

Rather, it has been revealed that developers at the social network are spending five days of intensive training with The Big Nerd Ranch, tuning their focus on creating new and exciting iPhone and Android apps.

Facebook's Director of Mobile Engineering Mike Shaver told Engadget that 450 employees have already completed the training as part of the company's shift from a web-centric to a mobile first enterprise.

Mobile empathy

Once the training - which is open to all Facebook employees, not just engineers - is complete, graduates can "start writing code for apps the very next Monday," Shaver said.

Engadget reports that designers, product managers and recruiters are among the Palo Alto natives to have completed the scheme, since it began last July, as the company bids to instill "mobile empathy" in its troops.

Facebook's laser-focus on mobile has been well documented in the last year or so, as access to the service via smartphones and tablets has overtaken traditional browser use.

The company has yet to master the art of making money (or as much money) from its mobile offerings and, with shareholders to please, that needs to change sooner rather than later.

Chris Smith

A technology journalist, writer and videographer of many magazines and websites including T3, Gadget Magazine and He specializes in applications for smartphones, tablets and handheld devices, with bylines also at The Guardian, WIRED, Trusted Reviews and Wareable. Chris is also the podcast host for The Liverpool Way. As well as tech and football, Chris is a pop-punk fan and enjoys the art of wrasslin'.